I know this may seem a silly thing to write, considering that I write about this sport almost non-stop - Seriously, I think the last time I spent one day where I didn't watch, write about, or talk about MMA on video probably came more than a year ago - But, MMA has... I don't know if it's changed or if the news flow has just gotten faster or what, but something's changed. Bad news has become more consistent, good news has gotten swallowed up more quickly, the rush of the UFC schedule hasn't made the cream rise to the top, rather the gunk, the rot, whatever you want to call it.
But, that being said, I still love the hell out of this sport. It's still the most fun thing I can watch on TV, whether it's good or bad, regional or top shelf, MMA remains to be a hell of a lot of fun. I remember, quite a long time ago now, I went through the process of not only watching, but cataloging every good fight, every moment of interest from the old UFC and Pride events. All the slams, knockouts, submissions, and donnybrooks. What I found, around UFC 50, was that it suddenly became much easier to pick out the bad fights than the good. Truly bad MMA was so few and far between that it was easier to say what sucked rather than what I liked.
Essentially, I still think I'm there. Maybe, in one sense or another, we all are. MMA has become consistent and generally enjoyable, so that the bad stands out far better than the good, and gets a lot more focus for it's distinction. More often than not I find myself talking about the stupid thing fighter/promoter/manager X said about fighter/promoter/manager Y rather than the really solid fight that just happened. But, I still enjoy the fight. I still enjoy the action. I still get excited for fight night, even if I've been through a thousand of them at this point.
The people may change, the product may change, the organizations may rise and fall like ancient civilizations, born and destroyed out of their battles, but the enjoyment lingers. Few sports offer the thrill of individual matchups quite the same way MMA does. The opportunity for athletes to pit skill against skill and see who will make the most of it. And that's what I'll remain drawn to; the agony and the ecstasy of waiting for the unknown to become the known. For the moment when two fighters become a winner and a loser. That will always contain some magic for me, no matter what trappings the rest of the sport may hold.